More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Reviewed by Natalie Silva

I will remember Aaron, I will remember Aaron! Since I love him in a non-weird way. And it is impossible to not fall head over heels in love with this character in this neo-science fiction LGBTQ+ novel More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Which tells a very complicated and deep story of this teenager named Aaron who lives in the Bronx with his Mother and Brother who have all been greatly shaken from the recent suicide of Aaron’s father. Something that everyone is trying to cope with and they do it in different ways which creates an absolute masterpiece.
Now, More Happy Than Not is not a self proclaimed neo-sci fi novel, but I have labeled it as one. This is because of the presence of an amazing new technology in the form of the Leteo Institute which helps people forget things that will improve a person’s quality of life and this technology is available in the very near future/now. A trend which a lot of neo-sci fi films such as Her, Ex Machina and Interstellar have also followed. Creating a magnificent setting where everything is familiar and available to a reader except for the one major piece of technology like A.I. systems, warpspeed or in this case Leteo. Although the way that Leteo lurks mostly in the background until it finally takes center stage is very well paced and allows for the reader to become very acquainted with the technology as if it were a character itself.
Typing of characters, let’s talk about Aaron. What a character, he is so deep and so complicated and just masterfully brought to life. Watching Aaron cope with depression, have his first time, meet Thomas and sift through his emotions about his sort of best friend and overall situation. Its breath taking and earth shaking how powerful his character is, reading his narration is just astounding how mature and naive a teenager truly is, especially one who grew up in a rough neighborhood. Now, a quick shout out to Aaron’s Mother and his brother Eric for being present yet forgotten, but still around in the hardest of times, making them the unsung heros of every confused teenager. Alright, on to Genevieve who is simply a doll. The best girlfriend anyone could ever ask for an artist cursed to never finish a painting. Her relationship with Aaron is something so seldom found in youthful relationships, they are more than just lovers, but best friends who support and inspire each other. Genevieve stuck around through his hardest moments, knew absolutely everything about him and loved so unconditionally. Then there is Thomas who loves Aaron a bit differently, although is very accepting of him. Thomas is a pretty energetic and imaginative person destined for greatness in whatever he chooses to pursue, he is just so passionate, especially when he finally becomes a real friend of Aaron. A friendship that rapidly deepens and confuses both youths of their sexualality causing a disturbance in Aaron’s sort of best friend and friends who you can’t really hate, but can’t like either.
So many of life’s great questions are posed in this story that its difficult to consider them all. Although the ones that stuck out most to me were; What makes someone an adult? Are there signals that indicate if someone is gay or not? And if you could forget something, no matter how terrible, would you? Exploring these questions was amazing and made the journey of reading this book all the more rewarding. Watching everything so beautifully unfold and be sewn into a phenomenal piece of literature. Although my favorite moments tended to surround the awkward moments between friends that seem so stupid and childish, but are the most cherished memories, and that one part where Shakespeare is considered to be made up like Jesus and Santa Claus. Now, all I am left wondering if there is more to the name of Aaron’s imaginary child Faust then what is being let on… possibly having to do with a German legend?
Finally the ending is bittersweet and left open to interpretation making it all the more awe-inspiring. I wish that I could forget ever reading this novel so that I could read this again, just so I could relive reading it for the first time. This novel is so raw and authentic with the representation of LGBTQ+ violence, young love and depression that the reader is also experiencing everything to the point where even I traced my own wrist right to left and left to right. Bravo Adam Silvera, bravo!